Sergio Perez dispels Red Bull myth despite Imola struggles compared to Max Verstappen

Sergio Perez was eliminated in Q2 at the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP, half a second behind Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen at Imola

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Sergio Perez rebuffed suggestions that his Q2 exit at Imola while Max Verstappen took 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix pole is an indication that Red Bull are developing away from him and towards the Dutchman.

Perez has rebounded reasonably well from his trouncing by Verstappen in 2023 – when he scored just two podiums from the summer break until the end of the season – but the subpar qualifying performance has understandably raised questions amongst onlookers.

It was around this time 12 months ago that Perez entered a tailspin and failed to even reach Q3 in five consecutive races, but he believes it’s a different story in 2024.

“No, I think I’ve had a pretty strong weekend up to now,” Perez told select members of the press, including Total-Motorsport.com. “In terms of pace, in terms of long-run pace, in terms of confidence I think we’ve been making that sort of progress. I think it was just a very unfortunate qualifying session.

“It’s just a very tricky track to get it properly right, we were playing a lot with the car and a lot of the stuff with the ride, with the setup here and there. We just tried everything, I think it was good to see Max did a lot of progress?”

“I felt from my side that the car was getting better, but unfortunately, we just didn’t get to show it.

Perez highlights key weakness at Imola

Sergio Perez during practice ahead of the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Sergio Perez during practice ahead of the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Perez‘s lap was undone when he bounced over a kerb with all four wheels in the air to cost him a quarter of a second and eliminate him in Q2, though his gap to session leader Verstappen was more than double that.

He admitted he’s struggled to nail his balance set-up over the weekend, on an Imola circuit that’s notoriously difficult to overtake on.

“We certainly have done a lot in the set-up throughout the weekend,” Perez added. but it’s a shame. I mean, when I see Max up there, we definitely have the pace to to do a lot more today.

“One of the main issues is the ride, you have a lot of kerbs around here, and just balance. You need that confidence on the entry to be able to attack those medium-speed corners, those braking corners. And I think if the balance is a little bit off, it can be very costly.”

Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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